INTERVIEW: Kimberly Newport Mimran of Pink Tartan

By Lyndi Barrett

Lyndi Barrett of Style Calling had the fabulous opportunity to interview Kimberly Newport Mimran, the designer of Pink Tartan when she was in Vancouver launching her new “washable collection”, a collaboration with Tide.

LYNDI: What were the most important factors in creating a wash & wear collection?

KIMBERLY: The fabric choice. At Pink Tartan, we have fabric care development to create designer clothes that are easy to care for at home. Your favorite go to pieces, that can take you from day to dinner, the grocery store, or to a job interview. It’s fantastic to have the option and the efficiency to take care of these pieces at home. Style is about care, so you take care in getting dressed. Our recommendation is to use the Tide Pod to take care of your favorite items of clothing. It has a brightening agent and a stain remover. It’s all pre-measured, so you can’t go wrong. Time is our biggest luxury in this modern world. It’s about everything we can do to make our lives a little more efficient.

Were there challenges in creating a washable collection that is still stylish?

Not at all. I didn’t compromise in any way shape or form on the design, as I had a superior fabric to work with. A big part of my design process is designing the prints and designing fabric composition.  We want to build our wardrobe. We don’t want to get a new wardrobe every season. It’s all about layering the pieces. I’m really sensible about the fabrics. You live in these clothes.

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You design for the modern working woman and you’re a modern working woman yourself.

Yes, that plays a large role in the style of my clothes. I tend to like smart, sophisticated clothes that fit into my lifestyle because I have to go from the office to dinner, drop my daughter off at school, and walk the dog in the middle day. The inspiration comes from the runway. For me, it’s all about having these great pieces that are fashionable as well as runway worthy.

How do you find balance being a modern working woman yourself?

It’s not really balancing; it’s more about prioritizing. It’s hard to balance. How I approach it is more about how I prioritize my life. My biggest priority is being a wife and mother. Work is right up there, but you have to make sure you’re putting in the time where it really counts.

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Your husband, Joe Mimran of Joe Fresh, is a very accomplished businessman. Does Joe give you advice on your company?

He’s an amazing mentor. He’s so passionate about what he does. We’re lucky that we both work in the same industry, so we’re on the same calendar, and get to do a lot of things together. We go through life synchronized. We talk about more than fashion. We share an art collection. We eat together every day. We travel together. There are a lot of influences around us all the time that come into play with how we express each of our collections. When I’m finished a collection I like to have Joe walk through the collection to give me a thumbs up or a couple pointers. I love having that critical eye.

What is it like to go from working in buying office at The Hudson’s Bay to presenting your collection at The Hudson’s Bay?

That feels like so long ago! With every job I learnt a great skill. When you can apply that skill to what you are passionate about, you get a great formula.

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Can you tell me a little bit about your career background?

I went to fashion school and I studied merchandising and manufacturing in fabric science and then went on to be a buyer. My next career move was in product development. I worked with designers, but I was the executor of the product. I would get the design package, source the fabric, have it made and work with the designer on getting to wear it needed to be, and then we would buy it.

I’m so passionate about product. You know when you’ve found your love for what you want to do. When I started designing, which was only about 12 years ago, I had the background of understanding a buy, how an assortment plan was done, and I understood how to make things. I could come up with an idea and have it made. A lot of people start designing right out of design school. I developed it as a later talent.

Your runway show is always a highlight on the Toronto Fashion Week calendar. What are you most excited about for your upcoming show?

Yes – 21st October. I’m working on pre fall right now but we’ll be showing Spring 2014.  The collection is in market right now, but with the runway show I now get to extract what my point of view is for the season. So that’s what I get excited and nervous about for show time. It comes so fast and it’s so much work for a 15-minute moment. There is so much production that comes in. From coordinating music to the fittings – it’s a whirlwind. And then, it’s over in a blink of an eye.

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It’s amazing to see how Canadian fashion has grown and expanded the last few years.

Canada is growing up – we’re such a young country relative to the rest of world. It’s great to see Canada grow up as a country in fashion, food, & architecture.  I’m excited – it keeps getting bigger and better every year.

Your brand has grown and evolved a lot over the last few years. Where do you see the Pink Tartan brand in 5 years?

I like retail expansions. I think that’s a very important aspect of our business. We are truly focused on women’s ready to wear, but I love the idea of accessorizing, being able to do handbags, fragrances, and all the things that create the look and lifestyle. I’d like Pink Tartan to become global brand. We’re really strong in North America and I’d love to see us expand into emerging markets & international platforms.

I just opened retail two years ago and the store is multi-brand. I source product, so it’s not just Pink Tartan in the store. I love the idea of little bit of hard good and soft good blend. We’re on store number two and we’re working on number three.

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I hope we will get a Pink Tartan store here soon.

I’d love to have a boutique in Vancouver. I think we can really dress the Vancouver girl. I’m all about layering, and because I live in this climate, I’m designing for it.

 What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become fashion designer?

It’s really important to get as much experience as you can. Be exposed. Interning is really important so you really understand the inner workings. Every design studio and company operates a little bit differently. You have to find one where you have a natural fit.

When you’re done school, get experience. You need to build up the craftsmanship to get you there. There’s so much more than just designing the collection. It’s a lot of hard work.

Lyndi & Kim

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